Having been on this side of things more than once, the partner left home, I can tell you it’s not easy for either. Basic training, and being away from home for what follows, is no joke. We hear the strain of it in Jake’s letters immediately.
But we left at home not only pine for our loved one, but worry. We know they are in a painful situation and we can do nothing about it. We can’t be there for them as much as we would like to. And we are left alone to carry on our normal lives for an extended amount of time. It takes it toll on a relationship. Each party living a completely different life experience that neither will ever be able to fully communicate to the other all the while facing fears and doubts. But life goes on as normal at home and the suitors, well, sometimes all they see is the absence, an empty seat next to you, not necessarily the person that empty seat belongs to. It’s troubled waters and not easy to navigate.
May 7, 1941,
Nat and I went to Max Janik’s shower today. She had planned to go to the show tomorrow but decided against it so I shall have to go alone with Spike as I promised. I wish now that I hadn’t but what’s done is done. Gosh I miss my Peaches.
What a crummy situation to be in.
May 8, 1941,
I fell out of bed sometime during the night. Just one thump and I was back in bed. Went to Jake’s house and his mother said he asked her not to tell me but he misses me more than he thought he would (so far.) Spike took me to the minstrel then to the “?” Gave me a huge bunch of lilacs on the way home and just gently kissed me-just an instant.
What a contrast in that passage between her talk of Jake and what happened with Spike. I’ll admit, at first I thought she was being duplicitous. It took me a while mulling this over to understand.
May 9, 1941,
It rained practically all day. I came home and washed my hair and started to clean my room. I had one drawer emptied of it contents when the doorbell rang. It was Chet Modzelowski. I looked a sight with my hair all put up. He stayed until 12:30 and we talked all that time – mostly about Jake.
There is nothing like friendship, and even better, distraction, to get a person through a time like this.